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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. economic data has shown improvement in recent reports, starting with May's nonfarm payrolls report and including new home sales, various Fed manufacturing indexes and retail sales, all showing better-than-expected rebounds.

Why it matters: The momentum could reverse quickly if the coronavirus pandemic picks back up and policymakers drag their feet on renewing stimulus measures, experts say.

Driving the news: Top U.S. health officials including Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will tell House lawmakers today that "COVID-19 activity will likely continue for some time” as the U.S. approaches the flu season, according to prepared testimony.

  • "If there is COVID-19 and flu activity at the same time, this could place a tremendous burden on the health care system."

Most economic prognosticators, like those at the Fed and the CBO, have written off the likelihood of a quick, V-shaped recovery for the economy, and are generally expecting an elongated "Nike swoosh" style return. But even that delayed rebound is predicated on keeping COVID-19 infections in check.

  • Rather than a V or a U or even a swoosh, the virus' resurgence could mean the U.S. is looking at a W — meaning economic growth begins to rebound before falling back into recession.

What they're saying: "The shape of recovery will be determined by whether we get ongoing fiscal stimulus and whether we are able to tamp down on the virus," Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco, said Monday during the Bloomberg Invest Global conference.

  • "The ability to control the resurgence of the virus … that requires extensive contact tracing infrastructure."
  • "If we’re not able to effectively do that we could see the reimposition of lockdowns and we could also see an erosion of consumer confidence."

Where it stands: Nearly half of U.S. states are seeing daily increases in COVID-19 infections, led by Florida, Arizona and Texas, data shows.

Between the lines: While fund managers have worried openly about a second wave of infections stunting the economic recovery, Fauci recently pointed out that such talk is premature.

  • "When you have 20,000-plus infections per day, how can you talk about a second wave?" he recently told reporters.
  • "We're in the first wave. Let's get out of the first wave before you have a second wave."

Watch this space: In addition to flu season, coronavirus infections are picking up right as relief measures like eviction moratoriums, increased unemployment benefits and the government's Paycheck Protection Program are set to expire.

Go deeper: Policymakers eye next round of coronavirus economic relief

Go deeper

CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S.

Cruise Ships docked in April at the port at Marina Long Beach due to a no-sail order in Long Beach, in California. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

There have been at least 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like illness cases on cruise ships in U.S. waters, "in addition to at least 41 reported deaths," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Wednesday.

Driving the news: The CDC released the data from the period of March 1 through Sept. 29 in an emailed statement confirming the extension of a no-sail order for cruise ships through Oct. 31, as first reported by Axios' Jonathan Swan on Tuesday in his article revealing CDC director Robert Redfield was overruled in a push to extend the order into 2021.

Sep 30, 2020 - Health

COVID-19 cases on the rise among U.S. children

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An increasing number of COVID-19 cases among school-aged children across the U.S. throughout September may be linked to school reopenings and other community activities resuming.

Driving the news: The American Academy of Pediatrics reported this week that children of all ages make up 10% of U.S cases, up from 2% in April, per AP. As of Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted more than 435,000 cases among children ages 0–17, and 93 deaths.

Oct 1, 2020 - Health

Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021

A laboratory technician preparing a blood sample for a vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said Wednesday that his company's coronavirus vaccine won't be available for widespread distribution until at least spring 2021, according to Financial Times.

Why it matters: Bancel told FT that the drugmaker will not seek emergency authorization for FDA approval for its vaccine for front-line medical workers and at-risk individuals until Nov. 25 at the earliest.